Just beat the snow home!

A day like today makes me really appreciate a sunny day in Colorado. I was going to ride come hell or high water….or gray skies and snow! The website I rely on to tell me how things look as far as temperature and wind speed & direction told me to ride before 2 pm. Although the temperature was not likely to get out of the 30s at least the wind speed would be between 5-10 mph then. So, I waited as long as I could — to allow the temperature to rise as much as possible — and still get in a couple hour ride before that cutoff.

It still felt cold to me when I headed out. I almost wore my heavier cycling jacket but decided at the last minute that since it wasn’t going to be too windy, I’d start off “cool” and hope to warm up once I started exerting. I did wear my nylon balaclava though — my ears are less tolerant of the cold than other parts of my body are. My route today took me north (big surprise there, eh?…NOT!) . I stayed on CO-56 until the stop sign and then turned north and continued on the loop that takes me by the Overlook development. There is an awesome fountain at the entrance to this development that you’ve seen before – it is the Momma bear and cubs. Here’s a photo of them from today.

Normally you can see some of the Rocky Mountains in the background. Today I was lucky if I could see much of the Foothills! There was a storm moving in — no doubt about it.

I was surprised by the number of other riders I saw today. There were two larger groups that looked to be teams out for a training ride. You can see that the riders in this group are pretty bundled up too.

When I got to the ‘T’ at the Hog’s Back I took a short break at the stop sign before turning left and starting my climb home. As I waited there, I watched  a rider came from the right and proceed in the direction I was about to travel. He had a good 30 seconds on me by the time I turned onto the road and started off after him. Ahhh, I had a rabbit! The question was, would the rabbit head straight up the Hog’s Back or turn right and go up the more challenging back-side of Carter lake. I decided right then and there that I would follow either way. And, wouldn’t you know it — he turned up towards Carter lake.

It was a good time to put a stake in the ground as far as my climbing fitness. The back side of Carter lake is a long, steep climb that is difficult regardless of what shape you are in. I’ve actually come to enjoy the climb over the last several years. There was a time when I worried whether or not I’d have to walk, or do the paper-boy weave. I no longer worry about that. Now I see how hard I can push myself on the climb. I see whether or not I can close the gap between me and the rider(s) ahead of me. Today, I did manage to close the gap a little. Not much — but I rode it well and did not feel spent when I got to the top.

I got to see that Carter lake is still ‘open’. I didn’t see any ice at all on the surface which surprised me. That means that Beth and I may still be able to get some kayaking in. Time will tell…. Here’s a picture from the northwest corner of the lake. The water level is down, but that is expected at this time of the year.

This one is taken from the east side as I’m riding towards the dam. The shore in the distance is the south rim – that’s where we launch the kayaks.

I kept my rabbit in sight all the way back down to CO 56 where he turned left and I turned right. I was pretty much on my own after that — but I was only 3 miles from home so I didn’t need a rabbit to motivate me anymore! I could smell the barn!  I did pause and take a few more pictures — these gray days are so rare that  felt compelled to document today.

 It was still cold when I got home — actually colder than when I left. The hot shower felt wonderful.

I bet I hadn’t been home 30 minutes before it started to flurry. Looks like my weather website was pretty accurate today! Glad I checked it before heading out.

Looking forward to some sunshine on my next ride!